July 31, 2012

Gas companies push legal lunacy further

It's bad enough that the gas industry can't seem to accept that two judges have already thrown out their claims about state energy law pre-empting local zoning, but really?

Lenape is threatening to sue the state because localities - in this case Avon - are reading the law the way the courts so far have said they can?

Lenape respectfully requests that your office, as the regulatory body with authority over Lenape's oil and gas industry activities in New York State, take the following actions: (1) advise the Towns that the Law Prohibiting Natural Gas is an illegal and unenforceable act; (2) affirm to Lenape that its lawful conduct of operations under the exclusive authority of New York State law will not subject Lenape, its agents, employees or contractors to local enforcement proceedings, including fines and imprisonment, under the Law Prohibiting Natural Gas; and (3) acting through the Office of the New York State Attorney General or on your own volition, take legal action to extinguish the Law Prohibiting Natural Gas provisions in conflict with the ECL or the complex oil and natural gas regulatory scheme administered by the Department.

If the state doesn't do what Lenape wants, buying completely into arguments that have lost in court twice so far, then Lenape "may initiate legal action". Somehow I don't expect that Lenape would win that action.

I thought Anschutz's lawsuit against Dryden was obnoxious, but this is a whole new category of shamelessness.

Update: a polite but blunt response from the state:

"The scope of the preemption must be left to the courts," said Emily DeSantis, the [DEC] spokeswoman.

Posted by simon at July 31, 2012 2:39 PM in , ,
Note on photos


Mary Ann said:

Avon's law is different from Dryden's in that they tried to zone around existing drilling operations. Their attempt to grandfather existing wells forced them to prohibit HVHF and horizontal drilling while allowing "conventional" drilling, which touches the line between regulation of land use and regulation of drilling.

The law is different, but that in no way excuses the letter. Lenape doesn't make those gentle distinctions - it just hammers home the same broken claims Anschutz pushed against Dryden. They seem not to have paid any attention to recent court decisions.

They also shut down the wells that Avon attempted to grandfather. All they have is hardball.

Nathanael said:

Remember what I said earlier -- this is a pump-and-dump land scam. It's crucial in such a scam to move *fast*. Does that start to explain Lenape's behavior? It's all about looking good to the major oil companies which they are trying to scam.